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Author Archives

Literariness is an open access collection of notes inviting everyone to explore the unfathomable English Language, Literature, and Theory. Feel free to discover and share knowledge.
Contributor: Nasrullah Mambrol
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  • Structuralism

    The advent of critical theory in the post-war period, which comprised various complex disciplines like linguistics, literary criticism, Psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism, postcolonialism etc., proved hostile to the liberal consensus which reigned the realm of criticism between the 1930s and `50s. Among… Read More ›

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  • New Criticism’s Relation to Modernism

    New Criticism and Modernism emerged out of a world that was perceived as fragmented, with the Enlightenment ideals of rationality, progress and justice discredited; the artist alienated from the social and political world, and art and literature marginalised. The vast… Read More ›

  • Chicago School (Neo-Aristotelians)

    The Chicago School of critics or the Neo Aristotelians included professors of the departments of Humanities, University of Chicago, who were engaged in bringing about a radical transformation in an attempt to revive Humanities and make them institutionally more competitive… Read More ›

  • Connotation and Denotation

    Denotation and connotation are crucial concepts in semiotics, structuralism, Marxism, cultural studies and in the entire realm of literary and cultural theory. Denotation refers to the primary signification or reference – the definitional, literal, obvious meaning of a sign. In… Read More ›

  • Hillis Miller’s Concept of Critic as Host

    The prominent Yale critic, J. Hillis Miller’s The Critic as host could be viewed as a reply to M.H. Abrams The Deconstructive Angel, which he presented at a session of the Modern Language-Association in December 1976, criticizing deconstruction and the methods… Read More ›

  • IA Richards’ Concept of the Two Uses of Language

    IA Richards, the New Critic, who, since Coleridge, formulated a systematic and complete theory of poetry, discusses in Principles of Literary Criticism the theory of language and the two uses of language the scientific and the emotive. David Daiches says,… Read More ›

  • William Empson’s Concept of Ambiguity

    Empson, a student of IA Richards, in (1930) promulgates a radically new approach to the language of poetry – to the multiple semantic possibilities of individual words, and to the frequent openness of English syntax to more than one construction…. Read More ›

  • IA Richards’ Concept of Four Kinds of Meaning

    IA Richards’ concept of four kinds of meaning has played a very significant role in New Criticism and modern tensional poetics. Pointing to the difficulty of all reading and of arriving at a universal meaning, Richards, in his Practical Criticism… Read More ›

  • Roman Jakobson’s Concepts of Metaphor and Metonymy

    In his 1956 essay, Two Aspects of Language and-Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances, Jakobson proposes that language has a bipolar structure, oscillating between the poles of metaphor and metonymy, and that any discourse is developed along the semantic lines of… Read More ›

  • Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox

    Cleanth Brooks, an eminent New Critic, advocates the centrality of paradox as a way of understanding and interpreting poetry, in his best-known works, The Language of Paradox, The Well Wrought Urn (1947) and “Modern Poetry and the Tradition” (1939). Brooks… Read More ›

  • FR Leavis’ Concept of Great Tradition

    FR Leavis’  (1948), an uncompromising critical and polemical survey of English fiction, controversially begins thus: “The great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad!’ He regards these writers as the best because they not only… Read More ›

  • Moral formalism: F. R. Leavis

    F. R. Leavis became the major single target for the new critical theory of the 1970s. Both Raymond Williams in Politics and Letters (1979) and Terry Eagleton in Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983) bear witness to his enormous, ubiquitous influence in English Studies from the 1930s… Read More ›

  • The American New Critics

    American New Criticism, emerging in the 1920s and especially dominant in the 1940s and 1950s, is equivalent to the establishing of the new professional criticism in the emerging discipline of ‘English’ in British higher education during the inter-war period. As always, origins and… Read More ›

  • Roman Jakobson’s Contribution to Literary Studies: An Essay

    The work of Roman Jakobson occupies a central place in the development of Formalism and Structuralism. A linguist from Moscow, Jakobson co-founded the Moscow Linguistic Circle in 1915, and along:with Viktor Shklovsky and Boris Eichenbaum, he was involved in yet… Read More ›

  • Defamiliarization

    The Russian Formalists’ concept of “Defamiliarization”, proposed by Viktor Shklovsky in his Art as Technique, refers to the literary device whereby language is used in such a way that ordinary and familiar objects are made to look different. It is… Read More ›

  • Affective Fallacy

    An important concept in New Criticism, coined by Wimsatt and Beardsley in an essay in The Verbal Icon, Affective Fallacy refers to the supposed error of judging or evaluating a text on the basis of its emotional effects on a… Read More ›

  • Intentional Fallacy

    One of the critical concepts of New Criticism, “Intentional Fallacy” was formulated by Wimsatt and Beardsley in an essay in The Verbal Icon (1946) as the mistake of attempting to understand the author’s intentions when interpreting a literary work. Claiming… Read More ›

  • Close Reading: A Brief Note

    A technique advocated by the New Critics in interpreting a literary work, Close Reading derived from (I A Richards’s Practical Criticism (1929) and William Empson’s The Seven Types of Ambiguity(1930). Endorsing the concept of “autotelic text”, that a text is… Read More ›

  • Autotelic Text: A Brief Note

    The New Critical notion of the autotelic text as self-contained and independent of the author, genre or historical context, was associated with Arnold’s insistence on objectivity and Eliot’s on impersonality. Such a text that contains meaning within itself is humanist… Read More ›

  • Russian Formalism: An Essay

    Russian Formalism, which emerged around 1915 and flourished in the 1920s, was associated with the OPOJAZ (Society for the Study of Poetic Language) and with the Moscow Linguistic Society (one of the leading figures of which was Roman Jakobson) and… Read More ›

  • The New Criticism of JC Ransom

    The seminal manifestos of the New Criticism was proclaimed by John Crowe Ransom (1888–1974), who published a series of essays entitled The New Criticism (1941) and an influential essay, “Criticism, Inc.,” published in The World’s Body (1938). This essay succinctly expresses a… Read More ›

  • New Criticism: An Essay

    New Critics attempted to systematize the study of literature, and develop an approach that was centred on the rigorous study of the text itself. Thus it was distinctively formalist in character, focusing on the textual aspects of the text such as rhythm, metre, imagery and metaphor, by the method of close reading, as against reading that on the basis of external evidences such as the history, author’s biography or the socio-political/cultural conditions of the text’s production. Although the New Critics were against Coleridge’s Impressionistic Criticism, they seem to have inherited his concept of the poem as a unified organic whole which reconciles its internal conflicts and achieves a fine balance.

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